Photograph by Stephen Ferry
and for your reading pleasure, a poem:
Six Things I Can Say about a Lump of Gold
1. I went with my brother Stephen, a photographer, to a gold mine and mill in Marmato, Colombia. There we spent two days and saw a pile of rock and mud as high as a one story building get crushed, sluiced, sifted, heated, cooled, burned with acid and toasted into a lump of gold, the size of the end of my thumb. It shone in the miner’s palm as Stephen took its picture.
2. Element: Gold
Atomic Number: 79
Atomic Mass: 196.96655 amu
3. Gold mask in a shallow earthen tomb, death mask
it holds the tiny toenail hammer marks
of ancient smith, commissioned in a long-gone
court. With grief or rage did they the mask construct,
as we feel grief or rage at funerals?
The mask still speaks, but cannot tell
if what it says is anything the same.
4. At the restaurant Côte in New York City, you can order a chocolate cake with shaved gold on top. You can eat the gold. It’s totally inert, so it passes right through. How many people died for that lump of shit?
5. On the grey wood porch
a laughing girl points to the golden sunset line.
6. In safe deposit 1348,
of the Cambridge Trust bank, Harvard Square branch
there is a shallow felt tray, red. In the tray,
there is a gold coin cast in Ancient Rome,
patrimony from my mother’s father,
A profile of a woman on the coin.
There is a tendril of hair on the woman’s neck.
The tendril shifts in the breeze from the ceiling fan.
Published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, issue 9, June 2016.